Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sorry For the No Subject Last Week

Well I guess I haven't gotten it right yet, because President Meredith called me to train again for the fourth transfer in a row. Four daughters! There are 44 missionaries coming this transfer. 44! That is insane, when I came out, we were a group of 13, and we were considered big. But in the trainer training meeting, President had us all raise our hand who had trained once before, then twice, then three times, by that time it was only me and one other sister in the whole room. On top of that, I am moving apartments, but staying with East Bay Mid-Singles with my soon to be greenie on Wednesday. (Sister Mitchell is training after only 6 weeks as well, moving to San Ramon).
And actually I have some other news. I got called to be the Sister Trainer Leader for the Oakland and Oakland East Zone full proselyting sisters. I will be over the Walnut Creek sisters (weird!) and the two sets of Tongan sisters. This means I have to organize going on exchanges with them. But since I don't have a companion that is also a STL yet, I have to exchange 6 times in one transfer. I have to go to all the mission leadership councils, and make sure the sisters I am over are obedient and doing well, and give trainings.They are calling a lot more STL's as we keep gaining more and more each transfer. So Sister Hewett is still one as well, but for other zones. I have to go on exchange with her again so now she can train me again!
I loved going on exchanges with Sister Hewett in San Mateo this past week. We bought some flowers for a sister who had recently lost someone. When we bought the flowers, I had a great conversation with the lady about how she got into flowers/horticulture. This led comfortably into if she had seen the beautiful flowers at the Oakland temple. For those of you hesitant to share the gospel, just look for opportunities naturally! This lady loved the pass along picture of the temple and gladly accepted out invitation to visit it. I also got to run by the bay! Not only was there beautiful water, but for some reason several cats...speaking of cats, we found a blind one in our complex last night. It was so sweet, but very confused, and my companion who is slightly allergic even picked it up to move it out of the road. We felt so bad for it and wanted to keep it so bad! But he had a collar on. And we are not allowed pets.  
Well the ward is growing slowly. We had some more people choose to have their records transferred. We have a progressing investigator, Mike. Pray he will come to church this week. President Meredith might be crazy having me train and be trainer leader all with a VERY different area/ward that we are slowly building from scratch. We did a lot of tracking down potential mid single people in Oakland and San Ramon this week. Some of that was super sketch, our zone leaders were very adamant about us going home before it got dark in Oakland....creepy! But it is fun getting to go anywhere in the four stake boundaries.
Well, I LOVE YOU ALL! Pray I survive this transfer.
Sister Martin

Monday, July 22, 2013

(no subject)

My companion and I finally got the soundtrack for "The Lamb of God" and we have been listening to it like crazy! I highly recommend it, especially if you like "Wicked" musical type sound, but this is cool cause it is religious!
But with that, there is a song about the disciples debating who would betray Jesus. One line really struck me, it said "Is my faith so little, that my soul would cease to burn?"
Sometimes as adults I think we wonder why we don't feel "burnings" of faith and the Spirit as much. There was a talk on Sunday about how incredible faith we have as children, and the miracles we would see, such as finding lost things, etc. I remember such times myself. Why is it that as adults we have to work so hard everyday to even rebuild our faith? Her talk was called "faith, focus, finish". She discussed how faith is even more of a choice as adults. We can choose to go just enough and say we did and go right back to our comfort zone, or we can do what is necessary to nourish our faith everyday and press forward. Then the talk right after went right along with that about choosing to be a pioneer. I liked how he mentioned that sometimes we don't think about how many people actually chose to stay and not go west. How today, we need to accept any calling no matter how big or small, and realize we grow the most when we have the biggest challenges, and in the speaker's case, it was going on a mission. It was so hard, and he didn't want to go, but because his bishop advised him to, he did. He said through that hard mission, he reaped the biggest rewards, such as a testimony of the Restored gospel, learning how to interact with people, even a religious education of sorts. So will we reap the biggest rewards from the biggest challenges. Yes we will have concerns that come up, that is when you get on your knees. We have to look at these challenges as opportunities to become our best self as we test our potential more and more. 
Miracles This Week
We drove all the way out to San Pablo to contact some people. Turns out we couldn't get a female to visit one young man and the rest of the people we tried were all not home. I was thinking, surely this can't be a waste of precious time and miles. I kept thinking there has to be someone we needed to see. As we were leaving the last house on our list, we were walking back out to our car when I saw a man who looked hispanic. I knew the area was well known for Spanish speaking so I wasn't sure what to say. Luckily, my companion just turned right to him and tried to give him a card and start talking. He looked at us and couldn't understand, I started to walk away, but my companion said wait, he went to go get someone. Sure enough, he came out with his two sons. They spoke perfect English and we had a great conversation ending with an invite to learn more from missionaries. They agreed! They especially wanted a Book of Mormon, to be delivered as soon as possible.
Also, I don't know if I emailed you about this story. But quite a while back in Walnut Creek, Sister Hewett and I had been eating lunch with our ward missionary and her nonmember friend. We had met this friend before, she had been to church and some activities I think. We were always really friendly to her, and she was super nice. Our ward missionary had been trying really hard to invite her to church things all the time, but also knew it had to be the right time. Well during this particular lunch, we had a great conversation. I mean, it was so full of the Spirit I do not even remember what was said, except her describing taking a few lessons from other religions' missionaries. I strongly felt to just ask "Well, have you ever learned from LDS missionaries before?" She replied "Well, no I haven't actually." So I just said "Would you like to?" There was a pause and she then said yes! She gave us her information and we sent it to the elders in that area. After a month of struggling to contact her, finally the elders began teaching her. Well, just last night she was baptized!!! These elders happen to be the ones sharing our new church building, so I have been able to keep tabs on her lately. Sometimes you send out referrals, never to know what happens to them, so this was a blessing and tender mercy of the Lord. I was so so so so so happy to hear she made it! This was truly a manifestation on what the broadcast "Hastening the Work of Salvation" was all about! Invitations of love on the members part, and then utilizing the full time missionaries.
This work is true, the Lord is preparing the hearts of men to receive His gospel.
Much love,
Sister Martin

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Dear Family,
Wow this week was CRAZY.
First of all, my companion and I (and apparently our bishops' wife too) couldn't even sleep Saturday night we were so anxious and excited and nervous for our new ward! Our stake president said he felt like he was a kid again, sending out  birthday party invitations and hoping people will come. AND THEY DID!
We had over 180 Mid-singles show up for sacrament, then more who came for the food and fireside after. A lot came from outside the four stake boundries, for instance a lot from Sacramento had car pooled over and a few from San Francisco, and down to San Jose area. This apprently got out all over northern California, and there are so many who need this kind of ward. We had some people openly admit to not being active the past year or so once they got kicked out of YSA wards. We had some recent converts there as well as some nonmembers! It was mad house after sacrament got out trying to get a gospel principles class started. I met so many new people! Basically all the stake leadership was there as well. This is very historic, as there are few Mid-Singles Wards anywhere in the world in the Church.
Anyways, as we did what we could this week of street contacting, door knocking, and tracking down potential members for our ward, even though our own efforts only yielded referrals for other missionaries, the Lord truly blessed us. We got a call from one of my ward missionaries in Walnut Creek ward who had a referral for us! It was a mid-single lady that cut her hair, and she invited to come to church with her and she came and liked it. So she agreed to learn from missionaries and thinks she might like our ward. Wow, complete miracle. We will see what happens with her!
Sister Mitchell and I have also been taken out to eat all week from our old Singles Ward. We have been to some crazy places, including a Thai restaurant where I had some pineapple curry in an actual pineapple! I thought of Todd and Dad in particular would like that. Also, we had fried bananas with coconut icecream! It was delicious. And I only write about food if I think it was worth writing about!
"For behold, it is easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land." Alma 37:44. Just like the compass (called Liahona) would only work according to their faith to show them the way, reading the scriptures will only point us the right way according to our faith in them. No matter what stage we are at in our faith or age, hold true to that which you know and let that grow!
Sister Martin
P.S. I know Elders burn a shirt or something at one year mark, sisters take 9 month pictures! I could of had a baby in that time frame hahahaha. So I attached a pic of my halfway mark. Also I included a picture of Sister Mitchell and I with president Meredith and his wife.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The work of mid singles

Hi Family,
Well this Sunday was a sad one. We each got little "yearbooks" of pictures of members of the East Bay Ward and had them sign it. We had a very interesting 2 hour fast and testimony meeting. We may or may not have cried to see it all end. They all frantically signed up to feed us one more time this week and gave us way too much food to take home. I have made some fantastic forever friends there. I enjoyed especially going on splits with the sisters.
We saw mini miracles as hearts were softened by these ward members taking time to pray about this change for themselves. This ward has been their home for years, especially those who didn't feel comfortable in family wards. So for them to say "it's in the Lord's hands" is incredible! I know prayer works! There have been very clear instances on my mission where I needed to pray about something to have the Holy Ghost confirm it, and He has. Even if it is something really really hard, and pride could easily get in the way, if we allow ourselves to align with His will, we feel so much more peace.

As for the new ward. Oh my goodness, I can't express how crazy it all is. We literally feel like we are on the edge of a cliff about to dive over into who-knows-what. Everything is being carefully handled until we officially meet next Sunday. We have a big leadership meeting tomorrow night. My companion and I are the only missionaries covering this new ward. And we cover 4 stakes. For now. With hundreds of names in one stake alone. Most less active. Please pray we know how to focus with this assignment. Also please pray we have investigators that the new ward can help fellowship and teach. One of the zone leaders here jokes with me always asking me if I am going to "poach" their YSA ward and get the older ones out of there. Kind of...there is a lot of work to be done. We are really excited! We feel great things are about to happen!
Sister Martin

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ammon's Joy

Dear Family,
This Tuesday we met with the lady that came to church. She kept saying she enjoyed our church meetings, but she didn't want to become a Mormon. Well, she let us teach her the Restoration. She seemed pretty happy to receive a Book of Mormon and when we asked her to be baptized, she said "Hm, I will have to think about it.". We set up to come again the next week same time. Then on Friday we got a phone call from her saying she would not be able to meet next week, and was not interested in becoming a Mormon and I asked her if she had prayed, and she didn't quite understand me and said "I am capable of praying. I will be returning the book to Donna." Donna was her member friend who took her to church and had sat in the lesson. Then she cut off my response and hung up. Sad. But this happens to missionaries, we are used to it, so we were actually more worried about Donna, because this wonderful member had really put herself out there to share the gospel and got the dreaded response of most members. But when we talked to her about it, she was totally fine and even said "oh well, as bishop says, next!" She has not been deterred by this experience, and I think it is an example for all of us! Even if we do get rejected, to just recognize to still be their friend, but still always look to share the gospel with someone else. Our ward got to watch  the rebroadcast from last week, and afterwards Bishop stood up in front of everyone and used Donna as an example, she was called as a ward missionary one week, and brought someone to church the next! And did I mention she is probably 80? She. Is. Awesome.
This week I was reading in Alma 26 about Ammon talking to his brothers, rejoicing about how much the Lord had blessed them in their missionary work, converting thousands. He goes so crazy that Aaron his brother "rebuked him, saying 'Ammon, I fear that thy joy doth carry thee away unto boasting." Haha I can just picture this happening. But Ammon's response is "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore, I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold many miracles we have wrought upon this land,  for which we will praise his name forever." I love it. This truly is the Lord's work, and as we choose to get invovled, He allows us to be a part of it. Full time missionary or member missionary, we can see the miracles He performs everyday. This week, I got to go to Peter's baptism (long story how I got to go), and it was one of the best baptisms ever! As soon as he came up out of the water, you could see and feel the difference. He stood in the water for a while, wiped his face and said "woah". Norman gave the talk on the Holy Ghost! I was so pround of my men converts! But as Norman shared about his experience with praying. he said stuff I didn't even know had happened! So truly, I was able to feel such joy as Ammon, but I know it was all the Lord and He did so much that I didn't even know. But because I chose to be involved in missionary work, I now know more of my brothers in the Lord. He allowed me to be a apart of it. This work is real, and it is hastening. May I invite you to pray fervently for opportunities on how to be friends and share the gospel with those around you, so you can enjoy the blessings and happiness that comes from all this.  Also, that Bishop has plans for Norman and Peter to bless the sacrament in the next few weeks!  Happens to work nicely since all the priests are graduating or inactive in that ward. The Lord works in mysterious ways! Priesthood will now bless their homes and families, and the ward.
Well one more week of our Singles Ward, then we are switching our work to the Mid-Singles Ward. We already got a referral/investigator in that range, so we are really praying that we will see some amazing things in this new ward! I feel it! Our bishop is excited, told us President Meredith sent him the "cream of the crop", so expectations are high! Pray for us!
Happy 4th of July, Happy Birthday Gavin, and I will pray extra hard for my family this particular week.
Love you all sooooo much!!
Sister Martin